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eTrojan

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I already have a pretty nice pair of 93605s, but this seller has made a very fair offer on these. Not sure I need another pair of shell LWBs. Does anyone see anything particularly troubling on these?



Current inventory:
  • Cordwainer Wright shell LWB - #8
  • Keith Highlander shell LWB - #8
  • Florsheim 93605 shell LWB - #8
  • AE MacNeil shell LWB - #8
  • AE MacNeil shell LWB - black
Also shortwings:
  • E.T. Wright shell SWO - #8
  • Alden shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
I imagine I've missed an additional pair or two of wingtips. My memory isn't what it used to be, and I'm too lazy to walk to the other side of the house to confirm.
 

friendlygoz

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I already have a pretty nice pair of 93605s, but this seller has made a very fair offer on these. Not sure I need another pair of shell LWBs. Does anyone see anything particularly troubling on these?



Current inventory:
  • Cordwainer Wright shell LWB - #8
  • Keith Highlander shell LWB - #8
  • Florsheim 93605 shell LWB - #8
  • AE MacNeil shell LWB - #8
  • AE MacNeil shell LWB - black
Also shortwings:
  • E.T. Wright shell SWO - #8
  • Alden shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
I imagine I've missed an additional pair or two of wingtips. My memory isn't what it used to be, and I'm too lazy to walk to the other side of the house to confirm.
Those look to be in good shape. I would just ask the seller to bend the shell at the eyelids to make sure they don't crack. That can be a problem.
 

wasmisterfu

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I think I am losing my mind, I thought the clifton was a derby for some reason. I tried a pair --- I don't know, must be 10 years ago. I must be mixed up.

edit: I'm not losing it... I guess they changed the pattern at some point.

View attachment 1609632
It is. That’s the new derby captoe Clifton built on the 108 last. The old Clifton was a captoe Oxford built on the 7 last. AE loves to reuse names for totally different shoes.
 

wasmisterfu

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Really interesting to hear the perspective on quality peak, especially that it was not a linear downhill slide but rather had peaks and valleys. Like I said, dumb luck on my part falling into a great pair.

The difference in the two pairs you showed is striking. What product do you typically use for hydration?
You’d be shocked by some of the quality problems I’ve seen on mid and late 70’s era AE’s. The company was on the verge of collapse in the early 80’s when John Stollenwerk executed a leveraged management buyout of the Allen’s position and made AE into the globally recognized brand it is today. He also had the smarts to push AE up-market aggressively (in perceived quality) when the rest of the industry chased price-points into the ground.

However (in fairness to the Florsheim’s of the world) AE was a tiny company that didn’t have the huge legacy costs, versus the other crumbling US shoe giants. They simply weren’t configured to survive on low-volume, high-margin production. AE and Alden (along with small British makers) were perfectly situated to serve the “luxury” end of the market, whereas the giants were just to big (especially with regards to retirement liabilities, shareholder expectations, legacy footprint) to survive.

Interestingly enough, as the giants of the US shoe industry collapsed, the smart ones diversified and changed. The Melville Shoe Company (Thom McAn being their once famous main brand) is today the 260 billion dollar (in annual revenue) CVS Health (it’s literally a direct lineage).

By the way, as I’ve pontificated about many times, not every vintage shoe that’s GYW and made in the US during the 20’s - 60’s, was good. The reason we see certain brands on this thread, over and over again, is those brands used high quality materials.

Little tiny French Shriner & Urner (which was smaller than AE back in the 50’s) has surviving examples (many quite worn) from their 30-50’s heyday, that pop up on eBay and on this thread. They are beautiful, all-leather (meaning leather uppers, insole, outsole) shoes made from great materials:


In contrast, these (NOS) City Club shoes, made within a year or so or the pair above, look good (GYW, good fit and finish) but are made of garbage materials:



Look closely and you find everything is loose grain that’s heavily corrected:

The insoles are paper-board:


And everything is cost-cut to hell and back where people can’t see it:

Including using horrible bonded leather linings.

This is why so many of the once giant brands are vastly under-represented versus say Florsheim (which was made by the same parent company as City Club) - Florsheim’s were far better made, especially material-wise. Just like today, you generally got what you were willing to pay for.

</end-rambling>
 

wasmisterfu

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Your posts are always so informative. The new thing(s) I've learned today.

I already knew to always turn off my camera, and to keep mic on mute, during Zoom court.

I was not involved in this case, but a funny Friday read.

LOL.
 

smfdoc

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As an aside, I was out of the house today in an actual mall in NJ and a Johnson & Murphy store was next door to the shop I visited. I did not venture inside, but I did notice the large posters in the windows and the displays that were visible. All sneakers and boat shoes. Yes, it is the time of year for boat shoes, but I failed to see any mention of actual "dress shoes." My non-vintage shoes begged me not to go inside and I complied.

IMG_0354.jpg
 

friendlygoz

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You’d be shocked by some of the quality problems I’ve seen on mid and late 70’s era AE’s. The company was on the verge of collapse in the early 80’s when John Stollenwerk executed a leveraged management buyout of the Allen’s position and made AE into the globally recognized brand it is today. He also had the smarts to push AE up-market aggressively (in perceived quality) when the rest of the industry chased price-points into the ground.

However (in fairness to the Florsheim’s of the world) AE was a tiny company that didn’t have the huge legacy costs, versus the other crumbling US shoe giants. They simply weren’t configured to survive on low-volume, high-margin production. AE and Alden (along with small British makers) were perfectly situated to serve the “luxury” end of the market, whereas the giants were just to big (especially with regards to retirement liabilities, shareholder expectations, legacy footprint) to survive.

Interestingly enough, as the giants of the US shoe industry collapsed, the smart ones diversified and changed. The Melville Shoe Company (Thom McAn being their once famous main brand) is today the 260 billion dollar (in annual revenue) CVS Health (it’s literally a direct lineage).

By the way, as I’ve pontificated about many times, not every vintage shoe that’s GYW and made in the US during the 20’s - 60’s, was good. The reason we see certain brands on this thread, over and over again, is those brands used high quality materials.

Little tiny French Shriner & Urner (which was smaller than AE back in the 50’s) has surviving examples (many quite worn) from their 30-50’s heyday, that pop up on eBay and on this thread. They are beautiful, all-leather (meaning leather uppers, insole, outsole) shoes made from great materials:


In contrast, these (NOS) City Club shoes, made within a year or so or the pair above, look good (GYW, good fit and finish) but are made of garbage materials:



Look closely and you find everything is loose grain that’s heavily corrected:

The insoles are paper-board:


And everything is cost-cut to hell and back where people can’t see it:

Including using horrible bonded leather linings.

This is why so many of the once giant brands are vastly under-represented versus say Florsheim (which was made by the same parent company as City Club) - Florsheim’s were far better made, especially material-wise. Just like today, you generally got what you were willing to pay for.

</end-rambling>
I need to go into a sensory deprivation chamber to process the knowledge you drop here. I love it. BTW, I totally agree with your assessment of AE. Their early 80s to early 90s shoes are amazing. I have a pair of Warwicks from ~2015 and the vamp cracked in spot of my OCD shoe care.
 

wasmisterfu

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I don’t have enough expertise or experience to disagree with you about the peak in quality. But, I can say I have three pair of AE from different eras that might be pretty good examples of what you are talking about.

I have a pair from the 70’s that are absolutely spectacular in terms of quality and exceptional in things like stitches per inch and perfect details. I’m probably not saying it the right way. I look at them and I know they are high quality.

I also have a pair of Cody loafers that I suspect were made in the time period you are describing as the peak. The leather is really high quality and is so smooth but also supple and strong. They take a shine with almost no effort. I don’t mean a glossy shine like on CG leather. I mean a shine that shows the depth and richness without being hard and glossy.

I also have a pair of Grayson that I bought within the last 3 years. They look worse after a dozen wears than my 70’s wingtips look after decades of use.

Those pictures regarding conditioning should be a public service announcement. It makes me want to get started conditioning all of my shoes!
It was very inconsistent in the 70’s. Some examples were absolutely amazing, some were really mediocre (my two favorite pair of AE’s are both produced in the 70’s). They had a real problem with uneven stitching on the uppers (where the pattern would just be inconsistently executed) and incomplete brogue punches (nearly every hanging chad brogue punch I’ve seen has been on a 70’s pair), requiring me to use a pin to try and pick out the incomplete punch-out. The leather was also inconstant during the late 60’s and 70’s - some were brilliant, others were meh.

In contrast, the 80’s through early 90’s stuff is consistently amazing. Even the CG stuff is incredibly good (meaning it’s “corrected” for effect, not because it’s scarred, low-quality leather). Once the PU finish starts looking like crap, you can literally strip them, refinish them and you get a whole second life out of them.

As for the conditioning PSA, that doesn’t just apply to AE’s. A lot of brands have that problem (because they all source from the same small group of tanneries).
 

wasmisterfu

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As an aside, I was out of the house today in an actual mall in NJ and a Johnson & Murphy store was next door to the shop I visited. I did not venture inside, but I did notice the large posters in the windows and the displays that were visible. All sneakers and boat shoes. Yes, it is the time of year for boat shoes, but I failed to see any mention of actual "dress shoes." My non-vintage shoes begged me not to go inside and I complied.

Wow those are absolutely gorgeous: vintage thread exception granted.
 

wasmisterfu

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I need to go into a sensory deprivation chamber to process the knowledge you drop here. I love it. BTW, I totally agree with your assessment of AE. Their early 80s to early 90s shoes are amazing. I have a pair of Warwicks from ~2015 and the vamp cracked in spot of my OCD shoe care.
Yeah, I dunno what was up with the Warwick, but that model had a history of problems. Most examples you see today look like absolute hell. I actually think the pattern had issues with stress-points and pulling, due to the last not being optimized for a monk-strap design.

It’s too bad, as it’s a nice looking shoe when new.
 

Nobleprofessor

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I already have a pretty nice pair of 93605s, but this seller has made a very fair offer on these. Not sure I need another pair of shell LWBs. Does anyone see anything particularly troubling on these?



Current inventory:
  • Cordwainer Wright shell LWB - #8
  • Keith Highlander shell LWB - #8
  • Florsheim 93605 shell LWB - #8
  • AE MacNeil shell LWB - #8
  • AE MacNeil shell LWB - black
Also shortwings:
  • E.T. Wright shell SWO - #8
  • Alden shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
  • AE Cambridge shell SWO - #8
I imagine I've missed an additional pair or two of wingtips. My memory isn't what it used to be, and I'm too lazy to walk to the other side of the house to confirm.
I think if I wore a relatively rare size like 13A and the price is reasonable, I would snatch them up ASAP. They aren’t pristine. But, some conditioning and love should make them nice. Even though you have a pair, how many more 13A can there be out there?
 

Nobleprofessor

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As an aside, I was out of the house today in an actual mall in NJ and a Johnson & Murphy store was next door to the shop I visited. I did not venture inside, but I did notice the large posters in the windows and the displays that were visible. All sneakers and boat shoes. Yes, it is the time of year for boat shoes, but I failed to see any mention of actual "dress shoes." My non-vintage shoes begged me not to go inside and I complied.

holy smokes! Is it the lighting? Or are those really fantastic looking cigar Shell?
 

Quantum17

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You’d be shocked by some of the quality problems I’ve seen on mid and late 70’s era AE’s. The company was on the verge of collapse in the early 80’s when John Stollenwerk executed a leveraged management buyout of the Allen’s position and made AE into the globally recognized brand it is today. He also had the smarts to push AE up-market aggressively (in perceived quality) when the rest of the industry chased price-points into the ground.

However (in fairness to the Florsheim’s of the world) AE was a tiny company that didn’t have the huge legacy costs, versus the other crumbling US shoe giants. They simply weren’t configured to survive on low-volume, high-margin production. AE and Alden (along with small British makers) were perfectly situated to serve the “luxury” end of the market, whereas the giants were just to big (especially with regards to retirement liabilities, shareholder expectations, legacy footprint) to survive.

Interestingly enough, as the giants of the US shoe industry collapsed, the smart ones diversified and changed. The Melville Shoe Company (Thom McAn being their once famous main brand) is today the 260 billion dollar (in annual revenue) CVS Health (it’s literally a direct lineage).

By the way, as I’ve pontificated about many times, not every vintage shoe that’s GYW and made in the US during the 20’s - 60’s, was good. The reason we see certain brands on this thread, over and over again, is those brands used high quality materials.

Little tiny French Shriner & Urner (which was smaller than AE back in the 50’s) has surviving examples (many quite worn) from their 30-50’s heyday, that pop up on eBay and on this thread. They are beautiful, all-leather (meaning leather uppers, insole, outsole) shoes made from great materials:


In contrast, these (NOS) City Club shoes, made within a year or so or the pair above, look good (GYW, good fit and finish) but are made of garbage materials:



Look closely and you find everything is loose grain that’s heavily corrected:

The insoles are paper-board:


And everything is cost-cut to hell and back where people can’t see it:

Including using horrible bonded leather linings.

This is why so many of the once giant brands are vastly under-represented versus say Florsheim (which was made by the same parent company as City Club) - Florsheim’s were far better made, especially material-wise. Just like today, you generally got what you were willing to pay for.

</end-rambling>
Holy cowboy boots, the legend re-emerged right when I'm heading to finals weeks. Contents like this from you and many other members here is exactly the reason why I wrote jokes instead. Give me 20 more years to catch up!!! I'm new here. Will reach out to introduce myself after Im done with this semester, sir.
 

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